Publication date: 14th January 2016


I was really excited to receive an invitation, via Netgalley, to read this book. I loved What Milo Saw, it was one of my 5* reads last year. I’m happy to say that I have thoroughly enjoyed The Astonishing Return of Norah Wells also.

Norah is married to Adam and is mum to Ella and Willa. She has a best friend called Fay, who is Ella’s Godmother. One day, when Willa is just a baby, Norah asks Fay to look after her for a while, but she never returns. Six years later she’s back and it seems she thinks she can just pick up where she left off! However, during the six years she’s been gone a lot has changed. Fay and Adam are now together and Willa has always believed that Fay is her mother.

I really felt for Fay and Adam. They had believed that they would never see Norah again (she had left a note asking them not to attempt to find her) so they had had to get on with life the best they could. Ella on the other hand, had never given up hope of her mother returning. She has always believed her mum was kidnapped and has had a twitter campaign going for quite some time. Because of this she has never truly accepted Fay as a mother figure.

I felt really angry and sorry for Fay. She has been the one to pick up the pieces after Norah left. She has sorted Adam out, looked after the girls and turned them in to a family. She felt like she was going to lose everything now Norah was back. The hold she has on Adam is obvious and she is the girls real mother so who is she to stand in her way?

Adam doesn’t know what to do when he’s faced with Norah after all this time. He’s made a new life with Fay. She’s made him in to a better man. Been there through thick and thin. But, he never stopped loving Norah. He had firmly believed she was gone from their lives forever.

Ella is over the moon, until she learns that Norah had chosen to leave. What sort of mother chooses to leave her family?

Soon to be 7 year old Willa is totally confused, bless her. She has no idea who this ‘no one woman’ is, although she looks a lot like Auntie Norah who moved to Australia. Ella has pictures of her. Why is everyone acting strange? Surely they should all be happy she’s come to visit. She can’t be a stranger because Louis, their dog, seems to love her.

As the story progresses, we learn Norah’s reasons for leaving and her reasons for returning. I don’t want to say too much as I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but it’s an emotional roller-coaster of a read.

I love this authors style of writing. I love how each chapter of the book is written from the perspective of a different character. I especially enjoyed Willa’s chapters. I also loved that Louis was as much a main character as any of them.

This book is full of interesting characters, all of who play an important part in the story, regardless of how big or small that part is.

An easy 5 stars for me. I highly recommend! I can’t wait to read whatever Virginia Macgregor writes next.

Many thanks to the author, publisher and Netgalley for my kindle copy.

You can pre-order your copy here:

Book description:

One ordinary morning, Norah walked out of her house on Willoughby Street and never looked back. Six years later, she returns to the home she walked away from only to find another woman in her place. Fay held Norah’s family together after she disappeared, she shares a bed with Norah’s husband and Norah’s youngest daughter calls Fay ‘Mummy’.

Now that Norah has returned, everyone has questions. Where has she been? Why did she leave? And why is she back? As each member of the family tries to find the answers they each need, they must also face up to the most pressing question of all – what happens to The Mother Who Stayed when The Mother Who Left comes back?

From the author of What Milo Saw, comes this powerful, emotional and perceptive novel about what it takes to hold a family together and what you’re willing to sacrifice for the ones you love.


3 thoughts on “The Astonishing Return of Norah Wells by Virginia Macgregor

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